Gaborone – Botswana says it has not discontinued the COVID-19 mass vaccination rollout amid reports that two people lost their lives after being inoculated against the new coronavirus.
The Health Ministry this week said vaccinations had indeed been temporarily halted in some areas, but that was because doses had run out and not because the drugs were suspect. It also said the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BoMRA) was investigating two incidents involving people who reportedly died after being inoculated against COVID-19.
The deaths were reported in the Greater Palapye and Greater Gaborone zones, and BoMRA is establishing the causes and whether or not they are in any way linked to COVID-19 vaccines.
The ministry said the Department of Health Services would continue working closely with key stakeholders at national and international level regarding vaccine application and safety; and encouraged the public to alert health workers of any adverse reactions to ensure vaccination.
The ministry said the districts where rollouts had been temporarily halted were cases where “They have thus finished the COVID-19 vaccine doses that were allocated to them. Vaccination in other areas continues”.
Vaccinations in those areas would resume in coming weeks when more deliveries of inoculants are expected.
Health Ministry spokesperson Mr Christopher Nyanga said the vaccination programme prioritised people aged 55 and above. More than 12,000 Batswana have been vaccinated so far.